artist statement

Richard Paton: mixed media sculptor using kinetic mechanical gestures to explore the science and culture of magnetic fields with the aim of generating poetic visual metaphor.

“I like to use a variety of materials to make three dimensional constructions which have moving parts. I explore connections and disconnections with the earth and my fractured relationship with it. The works have a foundation in science where complex ideas try to manifest as visual poetry, yet remain embedded in art historical traditions. At the same time these ideas are part of wider contemporary narratives that touch all our lives in some way. Most recently my work explores the existential crisis of ‘Sixth Great Extinction’.

I explore the invisible and enigmatic force of electromagnetism, which serves to carry an underpinning metaphor in a number of works. By using magnets and iron as a key sculptural elements, the subject matter becomes infused with a specific tension. It’s important for me to make work that is both visually engaging and well crafted, but also rigorously researched. It is essential that ‘play’ remains at the heart of the creative process. From this process, opportunities arise to develop metaphor, blending scientific fact with cultural histories, in an attempt to see the familiar in a new light.”  

Richard completed a Masters degree (‘Art and Science’) at Central Saint Martins, is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors, and is a finalist of the 2021 National Sculpture Prize.

To understand the work in more depth here is a link to his latest Thesis which asks: To what extent can a magnetic field be a metaphorical canvas for new artistic perspectives?

lodestone compass
Lodestone, Compass Rose, Brass Mesh

Invisible forces: they push us, they pull us, some we know about, most go unnoticed.  As we make our best attempts to steer a steady course through life we are frequently buffeted by forces beyond our control.  Time goes forwards, backwards, sometimes it stops still, perhaps it doesn’t even exist, light sheds light when we aren’t in the dark.  Cosmic radiation streams through the empty space of our bodies, the earth’s magnetic field does it’s best to defend us from the sun’s blast.  Incremental gaseous imbalances threaten the future of our ephemeral consciousness.  The imperceptible spin of the earth hangs onto itself by gravity, it will exist long after our brief glimpse of it.  As pressure from above makes the wind blow to the edges of a compass, I do my best to navigate the flux.  I breath, I think, I make.’